Robert Peterson of Real World Lighting went to Baku to work on the lighting for the opening ceremonies featuring Cirque du Soleil and Jennifer Lopez for the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer matches, and worked on the Crystal Hall concerts through load-in and J-Lo's first show. Peterson chats a bit about the experience:
"I was brought in as a senior designer—my responsibility was to oversee the project and manage the delicate interface with the Baku client. I scouted and later spent eight days on site for put in through the first show by Jennifer Lopez at Crystal Hall, and the opening ceremonies at the stadium.
The stadium concerts were difficult in that FIFA and Azerbaijan restrictions on access and positions were very stringent. We built a rapid deployment rolling stage with lighting built in, hung a long video strip off the seating facia, and keyed with of all things, Clay Paky Sharpy's from 150 yards away. Programming was done in a tight window the night before. We went live at golden hour, so we had some serious help from nature.
All of this type of production is very new to Azerbaijan, the primary difficulty was making sure our priorities were understood. We learned some valuable cultural lessons on how information delivery can prove more important than the information itself. Oh, and DO YOUR OWN TRAVEL."